University High’s Jalen Johnson didn’t want to relish in his own moment.
Instead of patting himself on the back for a season-high 29 points Johnson was more at ease talking about his overall job description and the team play the Cubs exhibited in a 66-47 District 7-3A victory Thursday over Glen Oaks.
“I try to have a balanced game throughout,” Johnson said. “I’m supposed to be able to do it all on the court. Guarding the best player and being able to put up points is technically my job.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-6 junior, scored 15 of his 17 first-half points in the first quarter, knocking in three 3-pointers. After a scoreless third quarter, Johnson regained his shooting touch, going 4-of-4 from 3-point range for 12 points to close his memorable outing that included seven 3-pointers.
“You could tell he was shooting the ball well,” U-High coach Joe Spencer said. “I was kind of excited to see how he was going to end up, and he had pretty good night.”
Behind Johnson’s early outburst U-High (15-2, 2-0 in District 7-3A) rattled off 11 unanswered points in 3½ minutes to start the game, with Johnson scoring nine and John Jones adding a 17-foot jumper.
The Cubs led 14-2 — after a 3-pointer by Johnson — before guard Chris Dancey and forward Dontrell McQuarter kept Glen Oaks (10-7, 1-1) afloat at 19-12 after the opening quarter.
U-High, which shot 52 percent in the first half, went on a 9-2 run to start the second quarter with four players scoring capped by Johnson’s layup off an assist from Jones.
Johnson also had the main defensive assignment on Dancey, Glen Oaks’ top scorer, and after Johnson scored his 17 first-half points went to the bench with two fouls with five minutes left before halftime.
The Cubs shared the load of guarding Dancey, who finished with 16, among Marshall Graves and Robert Gardner as well.
U-High closed the half with a pair of baskets from Gardner and a thunderous alley-oop dunk from Skylar Mays to Wayde Sims, who had 10 points, that resulted in a 34-19 lead.
Tulane commitment Maxwell Starwood extended U-High’s lead to 43-24 with a 3-pointer. Glen Oaks narrowed the gap to 45-32 when McQuarter scored four of his team-high 20, and Robert Smith converted on a driving layup.
“Our kids battled hard given the size differential,” said Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger, whose team shot 34 percent and allowed a season-high points. “We chipped away and then kind of got out of character and it was kind of pick your poison. We had to maintain our composure, stay with the game plan and try and take some time off the clock.”
U-High went on an 11-0 spurt to open the final quarter and made five of its first six shots — including a trio of 3-pointers — to push its lead to 58-34 on Johnson’s 3-pointer with 6:04 remaining.
“When we play to the level we’re capable of,” Johnson said, “I think we’re one of the best teams in the nation.”